Choosing A Hockey Stick
With so many hockey sticks, it’s challenging to find the right one. However, there are some simple things to look out for and many excellent sticks out there. But if you want to better your game, what hockey stick should you get?
You should get a hockey stick that fits you best, suits your play style, and doesn’t restrict your movement to better your game. High-end sticks are a great choice if you want the latest technology to boost your play, but you can get budget sticks that are almost as good.
In this article, we examine some of the best ice hockey sticks on the market. We also have advice on how your stick can improve your play, how it can worsen your game, and what to look for when you’re shopping for a new stick. Then, we look at how to size a hockey stick, including a simple table to help you figure out which size range to start with.
If you can afford it, and you’re skilled enough to know how to use the latest ice hockey stick technology, go for the newest model from a major brand. That way, you have the very latest in design and technology in your hands when you’re shooting for that goal. If you can’t afford a new release but still have money to spend, go for last year’s model. It’ll have a lot of the same technology but won’t cost you a fortune.
However, you’ll find plenty of excellent sticks in the budget price range. We recommend shopping for one of these if you’re a beginner, even if you can afford a better stick. You’ll want to get a feel for how you play, what shots and positions you favour, and what you want out of your hockey stick before purchasing something high-end.
There are some excellent sticks available if you’re out for something premium and prepared to pay for it. From CCM’s latest JetSpeed stick to Bauer’s new Supreme, there’ll be something for you. Don’t forget about Warrior’s Sabre Taper technology either, as plenty of National Hockey League (NHL) players use these sticks.
Equipped with exclusive technology, such as SigmatexⓇ Spread Tow, the latest in CCM’s JetSpeed range also offers a hybrid kick point, a lightweight blade, and nanolite carbon layering. The stick is much lighter than the previous model and is excellent for power shots.
- Latest technology
- Super lightweight at 375 g (13.23 oz)
- R-geometry for comfort and handling
- Hybrid kick point for better shots
- Too light for some players, especially defence
- Technological additions push the price up
The Warrior Alpha Pro Grip is much cheaper than the CCM JetSpeed FT3 Pro and uses Dynamic Strike so that you can shoot at any time, from anywhere. The stick is also excellent at controlling the puck in tight situations, so it’s great for attacking a well-defended goal.
- Warrior’s Sabre Taper included
- Ergonomically designed for comfort and handling
- Lightweight polymer core with flat weave carbon exterior
- Significantly cheaper than the CCM stick
- Limited curve and flex options
- Not suitable for those who like heavier sticks
The new Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic stick works well for snapshots, as well as slapshots, thanks to some careful engineering. With Duraflex resin, the Supreme Ultrasonic has excellent durability, and the stick is super light for fast movements on the ice.
- Packed with new technology to improve your game
- Designed to improve puck feel and acceleration
- Includes Bauer’s Sonic Taper Technology
- 390 g (13.76 oz)
- Premium price point
- Unsuitable for beginners due to price and technological additions
It might feel disappointing to miss out on that fantastic new stick from your favourite brand, but a cheaper stick doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For one thing, you won’t be afraid to use it, and for another, it gives you the chance to figure out what you want from your stick before you spend a bunch of money on the wrong stick.
The Warrior Alpha DX3 comes in a wide range of flex and curve options for both left-handed and right-handed players. It’s reasonably new, with plenty of great technology to better your play, but it won’t cost you too much. It’s made from flat weave carbon fiber, so it’s lightweight, making it great for quick shots.
- Recent release at a reasonable price
- Lightweight carbon fiber
- Enhanced puck feel and control
- Choice of curve and flex
- Edging into high-end on price
- It’s an all-rounder stick, and you might favour something more specific to your position
This is more reasonably-priced than the Warrior Alpha DX3. This still offers a lot of technology for its price point. With this stick, you get X-Flow technology on the shaft, a low kick point, a C6 Blade with a tactile surface, and an Ascent Blade 2.
- Lots of technology at a great price
- Excellent durability
- Soft heel and stiff toe
- Minimal curve and flex options
- Less resin in the composition
Your hockey stick is an essential part of your hockey kit and will always impact your game. Sticks come in many varieties, and you can even get sticks designed for specific styles or positions. If you’re just starting the sport, focus on finding the stick that fits you best at an affordable price.
Getting the right stick can drastically improve your game, whether it’s merely removing the discomfort from an incorrectly sized stick or giving you better control of the puck. There are a few ways your hockey stick can improve your play, including using a longer stick for defensive moves, a shorter stick for scoring, and choosing the right curve for the shots you like.
- A longer stick improves defensive moves. Many defensive players use longer sticks, so they get better coverage. If you want to defend your goal, for example, you’ll have better reach with a slightly longer stick. This means you can protect a more extensive area easily, which is great for defending against multiple opponents at once.
- A shorter stick improves scoring. Using a short stick gives you much more control, as the puck is closer to you. You might find you score more efficiently or have a better shot at the goal with a shorter stick, and if you pair this with a good lie, your puck control will improve. However, don’t use a stick that’s too short to be comfortable — backache will take you out of the game.
- Curve improves puck control. The type of curve you pick influences puck control and scoring. A heel curve is best for slap shots and backhand shots. Mid-heel curves also provide a perfect curve for slapshots, but you also get better stick control while still offering the flatter back for backhanded shots. Beginners do best with a mid curve, as mid curve sticks are good all-rounders. The mid curve and toe curve are great for wrist shots.
For an excellent video on choosing the right hockey stick, check out Ice Warehouse’s video here:
The wrong hockey stick has a drastic effect on your play. Whether it’s the wrong type of stick for your position or incorrectly sized, you don’t want to hit the ice with a stick that isn’t working for you. Using the wrong stick will affect puck control, safety, and visibility. It may even affect your ability to score or cause you an injury that knocks you out of the season.
- A poor lie allows the puck to slide under the blade. The lie of a good stick should mean the blade sits flat on the ice. If either the toe or the heel sits away from the ice, you may end up losing the puck. Generally, a stick that is too long will let the puck slide under the toe, and a stick that is too short will allow the puck to slip under the heel. Getting the lie of your stick wrong has a crucial effect on puck control.
- The wrong length stick can cripple your play. As well as impacting puck control, the wrong length stick affects your movement across the ice, and it can cause discomfort, pain, and potentially even injuries like a back strain. A short stick will leave you playing with your head down, which affects your visibility and ability to pass the puck or defend yourself or the puck from opponents. If you can’t see well, you can’t shoot well, either.
Buying a hockey stick isn’t cheap, and if you’re serious about your sport, you want something that won’t hurt your play. If you can, try out sticks until you’re sure they’re comfortable and have the reach you want. Always check out the lie, as a poor lie will cost you the puck!
Defensive players often prefer longer sticks with more reach, allowing them to defend a larger area. However, a shorter stick offers much better puck control for shooting goals. When a hockey stick is too long, it can affect control of the puck and be uncomfortable. It also restricts movement and affects the lie.
An ice hockey stick’s weight varies depending on what the stick is made of and which position you play. Stick weight increases with size across the range and usually follows proportionality with your body weight. Lighter sticks offer more quick movements, whereas heavier sticks are suitable for power shots.
Your hockey stick should rest flat on the ice without the toe or heel at an angle. Most sticks will have a lie rating of between 4 and 7. Each rating describes a 2° difference in the angle between the ice and the shaft. A 6 lie rating means the angle is around 47°. Some players prefer a higher lie, as they skate upright, and others prefer a lower lie, as they skate hunched over.
In hockey, the curve refers to how much the blade curves between the heel and the toe. However, there are different types of curves, depending on where the curve occurs along the blade. For example, a toe curve has the most curve at the stick’s toe and a heel curve at the heel. Curves also come in mid-heel and mid.
The term ‘flex’ describes how much the shaft of the stick will bend. A flex of ‘40’ means that the shaft will bend 1 inch (2.54 cm) when 40 lbs (18.14 kg) of force is applied to it. As a general rule of thumb for newer players, pick a stick with a flex of around half your body weight. If you’re more experienced, you can go up or down the flexes depending on your weight, strength, and play style.
Modern hockey sticks come in two main types:
- Composite: Most sticks these days are composite. Mid-range sticks come with a mixture of quality sticks that are usually made of composite with fiberglass. High-end composite sticks come in carbon fiber composite.
- Carbon fiber: Top-of-the-range sticks come in pure carbon fiber and, as a result, are super light. Some premium sticks are available in reinforced versions, with new formulas like nanosteel protecting them.
Having a correctly sized stick is fundamental to being comfortable on the ice and to playing well. A poorly fitted stick will impact your play, cost you the puck, or even cause pain, discomfort, and injury. If your stick is hurting you or restricting your movement in any way, it’s going to affect your game.
Most sticks will reach somewhere between the chin and the tip of the nose while you are wearing skates. Don’t take your regular height into account, as you’ll be much taller on ice skates, and it’s when you’re wearing skates that you’ll want your stick to fit.
Ice hockey sticks come in four size ranges, displayed in a handy table below, and be sure to check out our article on the differences between youth and junior hockey sticks.
|Youth||7 and under||Up to 60 lbs (27.22 kg)||Up to 4 feet (1.22 m) in height|
|Junior||6 - 12||50 - 100 lbs (22.68 - 45.36 kg)||3’9” - 4’9” (1.19 m - 1.49 m)|
|Intermediate||11 - 16||120 - 160 lbs (54.43 - 72.57 kg)||4’6” - 5’3” (1.40 - 1.62 m)|
|Senior||14 - adult||120 lbs (54.43 kg) and over||5’6” (1.71 m) and over|
If you need a tape measure to check your height, try Steve & Leif’s 12 ft Measuring Tape. It’s fully lockable, so you won’t have to scramble to hold both ends, and it has both metric and imperial units. It’s available on Amazon.
Shopping for a new ice hockey stick is challenging, and anyone would have a lot of questions. Hopefully, this handy FAQ section will answer some of them, such as whether length matters and what the words ‘curve’, ‘flex,’ and ‘lie’ really mean. We’ll also explain which size ranges fit which age ranges for children.
Length is essential because it directly influences puck control, visibility, safety, and discomfort. A stick that is far too long is uncomfortable and will restrict movement. However, a stick that is far too short causes a back strain and limits your visibility. Given that, we discuss some benefits of a shorter stick in another article. The right size stick for you should reach somewhere between the tip of your nose and your chin when you are standing in your skates.
- The term ‘curve‘ means how much and where the blade of your stick bends. Curves come in four types: heel, mid-heel, mid, and toe. Each type of curve has its benefits and is suitable for different kinds of shots. However, the toe curve is the least popular, and the mid-heel curve is the most popular.
- Flex refers to the stick’s flexibility and how much force you’ll need to apply to bend it. Also, please read our article detailing the flex of a hockey stick for more information.
- The lie of a hockey stick is the angle between the ice and the blade. A good lie sits flat on the ice and doesn’t allow the puck to slide under the toe or heel.
For children and teenagers, choose sticks from the corresponding age ranges. Children under seven usually fit sticks in the Youth range, whereas kids between 6 and 12 fit Junior sticks. Intermediate sticks are good for 11-16-year-olds, and from 14 and up, shop from the Senior range.
If you’re shopping for a girl, double-check the sizes, as some girls tend to be smaller than boys, especially teenagers.
In this article, we showed you how your hockey stick could affect your play, for better or worse. We also offered reviews of five sticks, three top-end, and two budget-friendly, as well as including advice on what to look for when you’re shopping for a new stick and sizing hockey sticks. Finally, we answered some FAQs about hockey sticks.
- New to Hockey: Beginner’s Guide to Hockey Sticks
- Hockey Monkey: Hockey Stick Buying Guide - How to Choose a Hockey Stick
- Hockey Review HQ: Hockey Stick Flex Guide – How to Choose Flex
- How to Hockey: Complete Guide to the Hockey Stick Curve
- Discount Hockey: Comparing Stick Curves
- YouTube: Hockey Stick Length: how Long should your Stick be?
- Ice Warehouse: How to Select a Hockey Stick Size & Flex
- How They Play: How to Size an Ice Hockey Stick
- Honest Hockey: The 12 Best Hockey Sticks - 2020 Review
- Puckstop: CCM Jetspeed FT3 Pro Hockey Stick Senior
- OMHA: FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOCKEY STICK
- My Hockey Store: CCM Jetspeed FT3 Pro Stick Review | Larry’s Sports Shop
- Puckstop: Warrior Alpha DX Pro Senior Hockey Stick
- The Hockey Shop: 2019 Warrior Alpha DX Hockey Stick Review
- Puckstop: Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic Hockey Stick Senior
- Monkey Sports: Warrior Alpha DX3 Grip Sr. Hockey Stick
- Puckstop: CCM Ribcor 65K Senior Hockey Stick